Why We Christians Should Accept Asexuals

According to The Asexual Visibility and Education Network, “[a]n asexual person is a person who does not experience sexual attraction.” We Christians should note that the Bible does not condemn such people, and neither have any Popes or other prominent Christian leaders, and of course there are some asexual Christians. However, some churches and individual Christians do pressure all Christians to pursue marriage and romantic relationships (which many though not all asexuals are uninterested in), and there have been some regrettable anti-asexual statements made by some Christians, such as one that appeared in the Christian magazine Vision, where David Nantais, S.J. and Scott Opperman, S.J. wrote in 2002, “Question: What do you call a person who is asexual? Answer: Not a person. Asexual people do not exist. Sexuality is a gift from God and thus a fundamental part of our human identity. Those who repress their sexuality are not living as God created them to be: fully alive and well. As such, they’re most likely unhappy people with which to live.” Here we see asexuality confused with repression of sexuality, due to the incorrect assertion that truly asexual people do not exist. This is simply false.

Asexuality has been found to exist scientifically. For example in 1994, when a research team in the United Kingdom carried out a comprehensive survey of 18,876 British residents, the survey included a question on sexual attraction, to which 1.05% of the respondents replied that they had “never felt sexually attracted to anyone at all”. As well, Canadian sexuality researcher Anthony Bogaert in 2004 did research that indicated that 1% of the British population did not experience sexual attraction.

One should also note that while asexuality is not the same as choosing not to have sex (after all, some people choose to have sex for reasons other than experiencing sexual attraction, such as to please their partner) some people choose not to have sex because they are asexual, and certainly it is easier to choose not to have sex when one is asexual than when one is not. Therefore, asexuals should find it easy to follow vows of celibacy, and thus in that respect at least would make suitable priests, monks, nuns, consecrated virgins, etc., and perhaps some such are asexuals already. (While some would say that would make their celibacy less meaningful as it is not a sacrifice for them, it is generally not considered so for those who have taken vows and lose feelings of sexual attraction because of age or illness. In any case celibacy allows one to be more focused on God, and an asexual person who chooses to become a monk, nun, etc., might consider the fact that it is easy for them to follow vows of celibacy to be part of their vocation.)

Indeed, I even consider Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit to be asexual, as none of them are known to feel sexual attraction, with only Jesus generally thought to have ever been even capable of feeling so – and even then there is no indication in the Bible that he ever did, with the fact that he is not known to have had sex being an indication though not a proof that he did not. As Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus was sinless, this would mean that being asexual is not a sin. I also think Saint Paul was asexual, as in 1 Corinthians 7 he describes his own celibacy not as a sacrifice, as a sexual person likely would, but rather as a personal preference and a gift from God that some naturally have. He also in the same chapter praises celibacy as the best option when chosen willingly by someone who is suited for it, encouraging such people to accept themselves and remain single. So here we have an endorsement of celibacy chosen due to asexuality as being a gift from God, written directly in the Bible by a saint.

We even have the words of Jesus himself in Matthew 19:10-12, translated in the King James Bible as, “His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to receive it, let him receive it.” This strikes me as an odd and unpersuasive translation in part, as a eunuch is a man who has been castrated, and thus no one can have been born a eunuch from their mother’s womb.

Instead, I support the GOD’S WORD® Translation of Matthew 19:12, which states, “For example, some men are celibate because they were born that way. Others are celibate because they were castrated. Still others have decided to be celibate because of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.” With that in mind, I would say that this verse is referring to asexuals when it speaks of those born celibate, and I would note that it says Jesus supports them if they choose to be unmarried and does not condemn their lack of sexual attraction, in the statement, “Let anyone accept this [not being married] who can”.

I would also like to note Matthew 22:30, which states (quoting the King James Bible), “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” This means that the angels are also asexual, and that in heaven we all will be, which again supports the idea that asexuality cannot be a sin.

One may also note that asexuality is not harmful in itself, whether to the person who is asexual or to others involved with them; while it may make the asexual person an unsuitable mate for some, the same could be said for any sexual orientation (a heterosexual woman would likely be an unsuitable mate for another woman, for example). Therefore, there should be no reason for God to be against it and for it to be considered a sin, unlike other things which while not mentioned in the Bible are generally regarded as sins in modern times (for example, identity theft. While unlike identity theft, being asexual and refusing to have sex because of that has existed since before modern times, it has only recently begun to be discussed publicly.)

In regard to God’s command to be fruitful and multiply, one may note that cannot possibly apply to everyone since some people are naturally infertile. Nor do I think it can apply to everyone who is not naturally infertile, as some people are clearly unfit to be parents. Therefore, while I would not say all asexual people are unfit to be parents, I would say that those who choose not to be parents and/or have sex due to asexuality are not violating that command of God, which clearly does not apply to everyone, and which I would say does not apply to them as their nature precludes it.

Therefore, all Christians should accept asexuals, by making it clear that being asexual (and refusing to have sex, be in romantic relationships, and/or marry, as many though not all asexuals do) are not sins and that proud asexuals are welcome in our churches and communities.

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Lisa Petriello

Lisa Petriello is a freelance Christian writer whose favorite hobbies are skiing and snowboarding.